OPINION PIECE By: Dr. Benjamin Djoudalbaye, Acting Head, Division of AIDS, TB, Malaria and Other Infectious Diseases, African Union Commission; and Head of Policy and Health Diplomacy at Africa Centers…
Created at the Abuja 2001 Special Summit, AIDS Watch Africa (AWA) is an entity of the African Union with the specific mandate to lead advocacy, accountability and resource mobilization efforts to advance a robust African response to end AIDS, TB and malaria by 2030. AIDS Watch Africa’s efforts are predicated on the Heads of State and Government’s (HoSG) successive political commitments to prioritise AIDS, TB and Malaria (Abuja Declarations) and the broader health and development agenda.
This is a critical lever for the achieving the bold and ambitious targets that the African Union has set for itself in Agenda 2063’s First Ten Year Implementation Plan (2014-2023), the Africa Health Strategy and the Catalytic Framework whose key outcome for health is to ensure that the health status and quality of life is improved and institutions that coordinate the fight against all communicable and non-communicable diseases are strengthened to realise healthy and well-nourished citizens. Ultimately the achievement of these set goals contributes to the African Union’s key objective to promote sustainable development at the economic, social and cultural levels.
Effective leadership and good governance: AWA will advocate for the mobilisation of the political will of African Heads of State and Government to adhere to their commitments on AIDS, TB and malaria and emphasise the importance of strengthened health systems;
Ownership, partnerships and multisectoral actions: AWA will advocate for national level ownership by governments, the private sector, and civil society to ensure ownership by stakeholders in African countries to combat AIDS, TB, and Malaria;
Mobilisation of domestic and international resources: AWA will advocate for an effective response to AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria nationally, regionally and internationally. Additionally, AWA will advocate for the mobilisation of the necessary domestic and international resources to meet national, regional, and international commitments and targets to respond to the three diseases;
Accountability for results: AWA will ensure that national governments are held accountable for agreed upon targets that have been adopted by the African Union;
Information for action and development: AWA will facilitate continental and country decision-making processes and promote information sharing widely to galvanize action to achieve agreed upon commitments and targets.
Leadership and Governance: The African Heads of State and Government demonstrate sustained political will to adhere to their commitments on HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria;
Political Support and Ownership: Governments exhibit ownership alongside strong political support and increased funding for ATM. Additionally, greater involvement of key stakeholders such as the private sector, and civil society to cultivate the spirit of collective action to ending AIDS, TB, and Malaria by 2030;
Mobilization of an Effective Response & Sufficient Resources: Domestic and international resources to meet national, regional, and international commitments and targets increased and sustained toward adequate investment to ending AIDS, TB, and Malaria by 2030; The statutory mid-year annual AWA Heads of State and Government meetings presents AWA with some measure of influence and control of agenda setting and issues framing;
Accountability and Oversight for Results: Governments held accountable for health commitments and targets adopted at African Union and International arena. The statutory mid-year annual AWA Heads of State and Government meetings presents AWA with some measure of influence and control of agenda setting and issues framing;
Information for Action: Wide dissemination of strategic information and AU Decisions facilitated to galvanize action to achieve agreed upon commitments and targets. The statutory mid-year annual AWA Heads of State and Government meetings presents AWA with some measure of influence and control of agenda setting and issues framing. Additionally, the AWA strategic partnerships with diverse actors in various sectors and multilevel strategic platforms of engagement created by AWA presents solid sphere of influence on messaging and advocacy.
Highest-level Political Leadership to End AIDS, TB and Malaria
The African leadership has demonstrated strong and sustained political commitment to end these three major public health threats on the continent since 2000.